Unruly Apple Tree Pruning Advice

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
16,248
Reaction score
16,574
Points
447
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
if they're not a rare variety take 'em down and start over IMO. apple wood makes good fires and for smoking meats.

i forgot to mention that large enough chunks of green wood from an apple tree might be prime mushroom innoculation to grow your own mushrooms...
This is simply my opinion, but why in the world would you do that? They are certainly not beyond redemption. If they produce and the fruit is horrible, sure maybe, but it's not as though Sprig is gardening on a micro city lot and every tree must prove it's worth.
And aren't there a lot of tree species you could innoculate with mushroom spores?
 

flowerbug

Garden Addicted
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
6,666
Reaction score
5,262
Points
297
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
This is simply my opinion, but why in the world would you do that? They are certainly not beyond redemption. If they produce and the fruit is horrible, sure maybe, but it's not as though Sprig is gardening on a micro city lot and every tree must prove it's worth.
And aren't there a lot of tree species you could innoculate with mushroom spores?
some fruit trees have a limited life of production and maybe these particular trees weren't too great to begin with? as of yet i see no indication from @SprigOfTheLivingDead that these are rare trees. when a fruit tree is past bearing age and the size is beyond easily manageable it may take more than a few years to recover any usable tree from that. after a number of years the fruits may not be all that great anyways. i don't know. are the trees a source of disease? we don't know that either. my suggestion is that if you are going to have to put more than two or three years into pruning to get a tree back into shape and you don't even know if the fruits are any good to instead remove the tree and replant something you do know you want and will be much easier to get the shape and size that you want (perhaps you want a smaller tree and want a dwarfing root stock type instead?) etc.

my suggestion for using the green wood as mushroom growing stock is just to make the use of the wood instead of throwing it out or burning it. as a fun learning project. it was what i was going to do when someone i know took out an orchard on his property and i asked him if he'd give me the wood, he said he would and then forgot about it and threw the wood all away, so my mushroom growing plans never happened. if you do plan to grow mushrooms you can order spores/plugs from people and innoculate logs with them. this way you know what kind of mushrooms to look for instead of trying to forage them from the wild. to me that is an interesting use of a material.
 

thistlebloom

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
16,248
Reaction score
16,574
Points
447
Location
North Idaho 48th parallel
It took 8 years for my apples to start production. Granted they are all root stocks because the Prairie Fire crab grafts died, so I have no idea what they are, except each of the four are completely different, some are good fresh and two make excellent pie and sauce. I just would not want to wait for another apple to come into production. Mine will be producing long after I'm gone most likely.
The trees I was using for an example were planted when the State park was a naval training base (WWll), so that gives me a good idea of their longevity. I realize that is not true across the board. But even if the apples were not superb, the blooms in the spring are worth it to me to keep them around. Just my opinion of course, worth exactly what you paid for it. ;)

I'm all for using good wood for good outcomes. I try to clip and bundle my prunings for next winters home fires. Cheery and warming.
 
Last edited:

ducks4you

Garden Master
Joined
Sep 4, 2009
Messages
6,141
Reaction score
3,522
Points
377
Location
East Central IL, Was Zone 6, Now...maybe Zone 5
I have become pretty good at this, initially being afraid to cut anything at all!!
First, cut off anything dead and cut past the dead into the living branch, maybe 3 inches.
2nd, where 2 limbs cross, make one your "favorite" to keep and condemn the other, cut the other off so that they won't rub on each other.
3rd, if you are worried, take NO MORE than 1/4 of living wood off this year.
It will take a few years to tame them.
Hope this helps!
 
Top